I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Steven Battelle, the singer and lead guitarist of energetic rockers LostAlone, on the final night of their Seaside Rendezvous co-headline tour with the Fearless Vampire Killers, at the Bournemouth Sound Circus. We discussed, among other things, his love of film, raiding the kid’s clothes section of the Disney store and the imminent release of their third album.
There’s a lot in your lyrics about space and time and concepts like that. Is there anything in particular that influences your song writing?
I was thinking about this the other day, actually! When I hear other bands say they’re influenced by certain things, it always confuses me a bit, because I don’t really think that much about writing songs. If I go for a walk or something, I’ve always got some music playing I my head, I can just hear it and then I sit down and write it out, I don’t consciously think about it too much. The only clear example I can give of something like that is one of the tracks on the new album, which came to me as I was walking home from seeing Les Mis. I was definitely very influenced by that as I wrote out the song, it has loads of vocals and has that dramatic musical theatre feel. I’ve been obsessed for years with conspiracies about things like the Kennedy assassination and recently I’ve been looking at the theory that the Titanic wasn’t sunk by accident, it was actually done on purpose. Looking at all these dark conspiracy theories, some of it definitely creeps in to the music. But generally I don’t think about music too much, what I write happens to be whatever I’m thinking at the time.
Thinking about all the shows you’ve played, which do you prefer, the smaller more intimate headline gigs or support shows at massive arenas?
I love the big shows! They’re brilliant; I can’t deny that it felt incredible to play Wembley. But definitely my favourite kind of gig to do is our headline shows in different countries like Norway or Germany, where the venues might be small, only 500 capacity, but it’s packed out and they’re all singing along with your lyrics. You can’t beat that feeling, it’s great to feel it building up every new tour, as the shows get busier each tour and the venues get bigger. That said, going out in front of 15,000 people is an incredible rush and it can be satisfying to make new fans that way. I love both kinds of shows in different ways!
What would be your ideal band to tour with?
Well, I’m a massive fan of Queen, and I’d love to tour with Brian May and Roger Taylor if they did ever tour together, but I almost wouldn’t want to play! I’d just want to be a fan and just wander round and just stand and watch them. I don’t really listen to guitar bands that much, all the guitar bands I like, I like because we toured with them and got to know them first. I love listening to the like of Marina and the Diamonds, Madonna and Lady Gaga. I downloaded Lady Gaga’s new song today, I think it’s brilliant! I’d really like to tour with Marina and the Diamonds, but I don’t think it would work!
You had a really big gap between your first and second albums, was that intentional?
No, it was purely business stuff, it was horrid! We were held up by some bad decisions we’d made early on when we were starting out and it was very frustrating. We could have made about four albums in that time if we hadn’t had to deal with that. We were just sat there wanting to do stuff and we couldn’t because of all the legal stuff. My favourite bands from back in the seventies used to release an album a year, and ideally that’s what we’d like to be doing from now on.
Is that experience why you chose the pledge system [when the album production is crowd funded directly by fans in exchange for pre order and unique experiences like private gigs]for recording your latest album?
We chose to do it that way because you actually own all the rights to what you create, and that’s so important now, to own the rights to our own music. We do have a record label, so we were initially sceptical, but it really helped us, as it let us avoid being in debt to them, and with the pledge system, you get the money up front to spend how you want and you can make sure you get the best equipment. It was really good for us, and I’d definitely recommend it.
What do you do on your time off on tour to relax?
Well, I love films and we tend to watch TV or go to the cinema. At the moment, my favourite film is Alan Partridge, I’ve already been to see it twice. I just love him as a character, greatest British comedic character ever created! I love all kinds of films though; I’m a massive Pixar and Disney fan.
What’s your favourite Disney film then?
It has to be UP. If you don’t cry at the beginning of that film you haven’t got a heart! I just went to see Monsters University, which was good too. One of my favourite items of clothing is my reversible hoody, which I bought from the Disney store. It’s age 8-9 but it fits me perfectly. I get a lot of clothes from the Disney store actually; I just got a Monsters University jacket as well. Working at the Disney store must be the best job ever; they put aside the bigger sizes for themselves! I don’t think there’s a single Pixar film I don’t like; I have the box set of them all.
The band are working on their third album, due for release late 2013.